I have always had an interest in education. My parents were immigrants from the Viet Nam War and the highest level of education they ever received was primary school. When my siblings and I were growing up in the United States, my parents encouraged us to prioritize our education.

As a child, I translated every school document that came home – principal letters, school newsletters and robo-calls – for my parents. Every school document that was intended for my parents was, in some way, also meant for me. As a result, I learned early on the importance of communication between schools and the community. Now a senior associate in the Education & Social Impact practice at Lambert, I have the privilege of serving a variety of schools – and instead of reading these materials, I am developing them.

I also closely follow the policy decisions and trends that will impact my clients and those they serve. After recent conversations with several well-respected education reporters in Michigan, I wanted to share trends and policies educators and parents across the state should be aware of this school year.

  • Third-Grade Reading Law:
    The third-grade reading law has been top-of-mind for educators for many months. The law, which goes into effect this school year, measures the literacy level of third-graders to determine whether they will move on to fourth grade or need to repeat third grade. How this law will impact students, families and school districts in Michigan is the biggest question heading into this school year.
  • School Letter Grades:
    School accountability remains an ongoing discussion across Michigan with the introduction of an A-F grading system for schools based on five metrics:

    • English and math proficiency
    • Growth in English and math proficiency
    • Growth among English language learners
    • Graduation rates
    • Academic performance comparable through similar level of poverty
  • Businesses and Education:
    Businesses are increasingly partnering with their local districts to provide additional resources to schools and opportunities for students. For decades, the message has been four-year college for all, but today, with the introduction of initiatives such as Launch Michigan and Going Pro, there is a greater understanding that there are multiple pathways to successful careers. In the upcoming school year, we can expect more participation and engagement between schools and businesses – especially in light of the shortage of skilled employees many businesses are facing.

If your school district has communications needs surrounding these or other areas of concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss how Lambert can provide critical support.

Brenda Duong is a senior associate and key member of the Education & Social Impact practice at Lambert.